Low-cost silicone imaging casts for zebrafish embryos and larvae.

Research paper by Wouter W Masselink, Jin Cheng JC Wong, Boyin B Liu, Jing J Fu, Peter David PD Currie

Indexed on: 19 Nov '13Published on: 19 Nov '13Published in: Zebrafish


Due to their size and optical clarity, zebrafish embryos have long been appreciated for their usefulness in time-lapse confocal microscopy. Current methods of mounting zebrafish embryos and larvae for imaging consist mainly of mounting in low percentage, low melting temperature agarose in a Petri dish. Whereas imaging methods have advanced greatly over the last two decades, the methods for mounting embryos have not changed significantly. In this article, we describe the development and use of 3D printed plastic molds. These molds can be used to create silicone casts and allow embryos and larvae to be mounted with a consistent and reproducible angle, and position in X, Y, and Z. These molds are made on a 3D printer and can be easily and cheaply reproduced by anyone with access to a 3D printer, making this method accessible to the entire zebrafish community. Molds can be reused to create additional casts, which can be reused after imaging. These casts are compatible with any upright microscope and can be adapted for use on an inverted microscope, taking the working distance of the objective used into account. This technique should prove to be useful to any researcher imaging zebrafish embryos.